EC: Only courts have power to act against allegations of power abuse


SEREMBAN: The Election Commission is powerless to act against allegations of power abuse reported during the on-going campaign for the Rantau by-election.

Its chief Azhar Azizan Harun (pic) said only the courts had jurisdiction in this.

"I have been saying since day one at the Port Dickson by-election that what I say is irrelevant.

"I am neither a judge nor jury, and there is no process for me to investigate," he told reporters after checking on the early voting at the Rantau police station on Tuesday (April 8).

Azhar said the actual power lay with the public as they can lodge reports of alleged wrongdoing, which would prompt the authorities to investigate.

Azhar was asked to comment on a statement by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng who, while campaigning in Kuala Sawah last Saturday (April 6), was reported to have hinted that the re-routed East Coast Rail may run through Negri Sembilan, if the project is continued.

Lim was quoted as saying that this was a possibility, if negotiations with the Chinese government are successful.

Lim said the project could go on if the government could cut the cost down to RM36bil.

He was also reported as saying that if the people wanted good news, they should support Pakatan Harapan in forming a clean, democratic, fair and united government.

Azhar said since this came from an individual who was in government, then he may have to justify that the announcement was not made just to canvass support.

"That person will also have to justify that the announcement was for the overall good of the state, and not solely for the Rantau folk," he said.

Azhar said he doesn't comment on such matters, as he did not wish to influence voters.

"I can only advise the candidates not to abuse their power.

"Whoever feels that an offence has been committed, including reporters, should lodge reports with the authorities," he said.

The Rantau by-election to be held on April 13 will see a four-cornered fight between incumbent Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, Pakatan Harapan's Dr S. Streram and independents R. Malarvizhi and Mohd Noor Yassin.